If you’re a basic, bougie girl who can’t imagine a Saturday without bottomless prosecco and brunch, I have bad news for you: There’s a perfect storm a-brewing in the Mexican agricultural markets that’s about to send avocado prices sky high. This means your $10 avocado toast might soon cost $18 — if not more — as supply shrinks and demand spikes.
Only two countries grow avocados and Mexican growers know they’re sitting on a gold mine. So they’re charging more to wholesalers, causing a price spike. via SF Gate:
Mexican growers are withholding fruit as they try to negotiate higher payment from packers, and now the wholesale avocado price is two to four times higher than usual. As the primary U.S. supplier this time of year, after California’s season has ended and not much is coming out of Chile or Peru, the growers in Mexico have leverage.
“Right now, it’s one or two countries supplying the world with avocados,” said Dimitri Vardakastanis, co-owner of three San Francisco grocery stores, including Gus’s Market. Vardakastanis has noticed sharp price increases over the past three months, and is now selling avocados for $1.99 each, $2.99 for organic.
Like forgetting to wear your Patagonia while on an apple-picking date in New Canaan with Katie’s ex-boyfriend from Middlebury, it gets worse! Like, a lot worse. While Mexican growers are slowing down, U.S. growers in California can’t keep up with the demand due to weather and other factors. In short, basic white girls who rabidly consumer avocado toast really, really need Mexico and NAFTA to satisfy their addiction:
“There has been an extreme slowdown of harvest and in some cases a stoppage of harvest,” said Henry of the Mexican growers. Last week, they were down to 25 percent of normal volume, and this week less than 10 percent of usual.
Henry thinks price negotiations with growers should resolve any day now, but there will be a lag after harvest resumes. It takes several days to pack and ship avocados from Mexico to the Bay Area; the fruit then must ripen two to four days before it is sent to markets and restaurants.
Avocados have been imported into the United States from Mexico only since 1997, when a trade ban was lifted, and only since 2007 into California. In 2015, the U.S. brought in 886,392 tons of avocados from Mexico, while California supplied 131,289 tons, according to the Hass Avocado Board.
This agricultural nightmare is cause for major concern at another beloved basic white girl institution: Sweetgreen, purveyors of the finest salads in yuppie America. On Friday the chain’s VP of Food + Beverage, Casey Gleason, issued the following alert about the avocado shortage having a major impact on Sweetgreen’s signature Guacamole Greens salad.
Our search for the perfect avocado started nine years ago when we introduced the Guacamole Greens. It’s a quest we’ve been on ever since.
Lately, it’s been a bit of a struggle to find just the right ones that meet our standards – and your expectations. In short, here’s the situation:
- Americans love avocados — we’ve consumed more than 1.8 billion lbs. of them just this year! That’s a lot of demand.
- But a hot and dry summer cut California’s growing season short and affected yield, which meant there was less avocado to go around here in the U.S.
- Meanwhile, growers in Mexico also had a challenging year with rains and a late crop – which isn’t great because they’re the largest exporter of avocados to the U.S. and the biggest producer worldwide. And now, a dispute in Mexico has halted harvesting, which is driving up the price.
All that has combined to put a strain on the avocado market — price, quality and availability are becoming unpredictable, and that’s a big deal to us because we know you love avo, and we love it too.
As a result, we’re working around the clock with our farmers and distributors to help ensure you can get your fix. We’ll be keeping it real and posting updates here at sweetgreen.com/avocado as things develop, and if you have any questions, feel free to email us.
The avocado-pocalypse is upon us. Shit’s about to get real.